-- For almost two weeks now, Donald Trump has been asserting that "thousands" of Muslims in New Jersey were celebrating the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Today, a senior adviser to Donald Trump's presidential campaign, Dan Scavino, said he was backing up Trump's claims by tweeting a video report by former WCBS-TV reporter Pablo Guzman describing celebrations in Jersey City, N.J., after the World Trade Center collapsed.
Scavino’s tweets prompted Guzman to respond on Twitter.
Guzman said the video does not show anyone celebrating and he disputes Trump's claims. Guzman’s report stems from investigators telling him that eight men who were found celebrating on the roof of a Jersey City apartment complex were detained in the aftermath of 9/11. Six of the eight, Guzman reported, lived in the building, which Guzman was told was "swarming with suspects." The report also mentions that authorities found a model of the Trade Center and binoculars on the roof.
Reached by phone Wednesday, the now-retired Guzman told ABC News his 9/11 news report came via Jersey City and Port Authority sources, all of whom told him it was "reports of at most a handful of people...mostly from the same building in Jersey City."
Guzman said all of these reports were "mostly anecdotal. People called into police and news. When you tried to follow up it wasn't quite like we were told -- it was a game of telephone."
Guzman said large celebrations by Muslims in the New Jersey area were not reported and it is a "stretch" for Trump to say thousands celebrated. He said there's no video or photo evidence of what Trump is claiming.
Trump told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday he "saw clips and so did many other people and many people saw it in person. I've had hundreds of phone calls to the Trump Organization saying 'We saw it. It was dancing in the streets.'"
Trump also referenced a report in the Washington Post of "tailgate style" celebrations after the attacks, a report the Washington Post now said was never proven.
"I saw it at the time. I stick by it," Trump said.
In an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos in November, Trump said "There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down -- as those buildings came down, and that tells you something. It was well covered at the time."
Trump’s allegations have been refuted by other presidential candidates including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Speaking to reporters at a campaign stop in New Hampshire Monday, Christie condemned Trump, saying “it didn’t happen and the fact is, people can say anything, but the facts are the facts, and that didn’t happen in New Jersey that day and hasn’t happened since.”